Maryland Accidents Involving Heavy or Dangerous Equipment

When most people think of a Maryland truck accident, they visualize images of an overturned semi-truck on the highway. Indeed, most Maryland truck accidents occur on the highway and these are the most often seen examples of truck accidents. However, there are many other types of truck accidents, including those involving construction vehicles, tow trucks, and other heavy equipment.

Most heavy equipment accidents involve the employees who are working around these dangerous machines and vehicles. Given the fact that the accident victims agree to work around these, certain issues arise that may not come up in traditional truck accident cases. A recent state appellate decision illustrates the scope of a release of liability waiver that was signed by an accident victim.

The Facts

According to the court’s recitation of the facts, the plaintiff was injured while she was standing in a “non-spectator restricted area” on the Daytona International Speedway. Evidently, the plaintiff was standing in the pit-stop area while employees of the racetrack instructed a tow-truck to back-up. The employees gave the all-clear to the tow-truck driver, who backed up over the plaintiff.

While the court’s opinion does not explicitly state the reason for the plaintiff being in the pit-stop area, it appears she was a member of one of the racer’s maintenance team. Thus, before being admitted onto the raceway, the plaintiff was asked to sign a release of liability waiver, which stated that she acknowledged the risks involved with being on the raceway and agreed not to pursue a claim against the racetrack. The release applied to “all negligent acts” of the racetrack and its employees.

The plaintiff filed a personal injury case against the racetrack, arguing that it was grossly negligent. The racetrack argued that the plaintiff was precluded from bringing the lawsuit based on her execution of the release.

The court had to determine two issues: 1.) whether the release signed by the plaintiffs could apply to grossly negligent acts of the defendant and, 2.) if so, whether the evidence supported a finding that the defendant racetrack was grossly negligent. The court decided both issues in favor of the plaintiff.

The court explained that although the release stated it applied to “all negligent acts” of the defendant, it did not apply to acts of gross negligence. Because the plaintiff pled her case under a theory of gross negligence, the release did not bar her claim.

Without much analysis, the court then went on to determine that the plaintiff’s evidence was sufficient to show that the racetrack, through its employees, was grossly negligent. The court, however, reserved the ultimate determination for the jury.

Are You Looking for a Maryland Truck Accident Lawyer?

If you have recently been the victim of a Maryland truck accident or any other type of accident involving heavy equipment or machinery, you might be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated Maryland personal injury lawyers at the law firm of Lebowitz & Mzhen, LLC have decades of experience bringing cases on behalf of injured clients in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation based on the injuries you or your loved one has sustained, call 410-654-3600 today.

More Blog Posts:

Maryland Rule of Evidence 403: A Question of Probative Value Versus Unfair Prejudice, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published January 4, 2019.

Using Circumstantial Evidence to Prove a Maryland Truck Accident Claim, Maryland Trucking Accident Lawyer Blog, published December 26, 2018.

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